Skip to Main Content

Log in to access all features

Find the perfect dog walk on your journey - Driving with Dogs

Bark Out

Is the water safe for doggie swimming?

With water levels in many lakes and rivers at record low levels, watch out for water-based infections if your dog loves the water.

Jem and I have had the Battle of the Eye Drops this past week after he picked up Pink Eye - probably from bacteria picked up when he was swimming in a local stream according to the vet.

Bacteria is one thing, but algae blooms can be even worse for dogs.

Algae can get established in standing water, such as lakes, and many councils have put up warning boards in water known to harbour algae. The problem is that you can’t always see it, and not all algae is dangerous. I wish someone would create a test kit you could just dip into the water and get an instant result on whether it’s safe or not.

Safe alternatives

A trip to the seaside is a good option, check out the DwD Beaches section for a great choice of tried and tested dog-friendly beaches (and please add good doggy beaches to the site if your favourites aren’t there). Rivers are usually a safe bet too, provided the current isn’t too strong and there’s plenty of flowing water.

Try and make sure that your dog doesn't swallow too much water when swimming, which is almost impossible with dogs that swim with their mouths open after retrieving a toy. And have a towel handy for a good rub down at the end of the swim so that there isn't so much coat licking.

What to do

If your dog is drooling excessively and vomiting, and seems unsteady on his legs shortly after swimming, then head for the nearest vet straight away as this could be caused by algae. Bacteria from water can cause tummy upsets as well as pink eye, so it's still a trip to the vet if home remedies don't work.

Driving with your dog